Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Venta del Raya to Zafarraya, Granada Province.

A walk amongst the orchids and other wildlife.

I met Valerie at Venta del Raya and after a coffee we had a drive down the road to a field where we had good views of several Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) including dispalying males. We also saw Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
On the track side we also saw Borage (Borago officinalis), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Hoary Cress (Cardaria draba), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), White Mustard (Sinapis alba), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa) and Tragopogon angustifolius.
A short way down the road we met Brenda and then continued on down the road towards Zafarraya and then stopped in amongst the Oak Woods and then walked for the next couple of hours.
In this area we found lots of Yellow Bee (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), a few Sawfly (Flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera), Fan-lipped (Anacamptis collina), Mirror (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Conical (Neotinea conica), Giant (Himantoglossum robertiana) and Southern Early Purple Orchids (ChupaerosAndrorchis Olbiensis) as well as Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Cymbalaria-leaved Speedwell (Veronica cymbalaria), Dove's Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Scentless Mayweed (Matricaria perforata), Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris), Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum) and Spring Rockcress (Arabis verna). We Birds were few but we could hear Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and had views of Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and as we walked back to the car a flight of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Time had flown by but we had enough to pop a short way down the road and checked out another area of grassland dotted with Oaks and old Almond trees. In this area we had some superb clumps of Pink Butterfly Orchids (Anacamptis papilionacea), along with many of the species already seen and a single spike of Small Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta). Birds included Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and an unexpected Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) on the nearby sewage pools. Once back at the car we retraced our way back to the starting point and then home but called in to another spot and had several spikes of Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica) on the way.

Photographs from the top: Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), Southern Early Purple Orchid (ChupaerosAndrorchis Olbiensis), 2x Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica), 2x Pink Butterfly Orchid (Anacamptis papilionacea), Small Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta), Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum) and Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica).

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